(New York, N.Y. – June 27, 2018) As peak beach season arrives in the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Region 2 office expects to award up to $250,000 to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to protect beachgoers contingent upon the number of eligible recipients nationwide that apply for grant funds and the availability of funding.
“Enjoying the beach is a quintessential pastime for Americans every summer,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Through EPA’s BEACH grants, we are ensuring communities across the country can keep their beaches safe and enjoyable for all.”
“New Jersey’s beaches play a significant role in the state’s environmental, economic, and cultural prosperity, bringing in thousands of tourists every summer,” said Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “This grant supports the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s vital program to alert New Jersey residents and tourists alike when water quality problems exist.”
NJDEP is expected to receive $250,000 to be used during the 2019 swimming season at approximately 185 ocean beaches along the New Jersey Atlantic coast in Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, and Cape May Counties and 21 bay and estuary beaches in Barnegat Bay, Little Egg Harbor, Great Egg Harbor, and Great Bay.
Longport Beach in Atlantic County, New Jersey. Photo courtesy of the Borough of Longport.
Under the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act, EPA awards grants to eligible state, territorial and tribal applicants to help them and their local government partners monitor water quality at coastal and Great Lakes beaches. When bacteria levels are too high for safe swimming, these agencies notify the public by posting beach warnings or closing the beach. Since 2002, state and local governments, territories, and tribes have used more than $157 million in EPA BEACH Act grants to monitor beaches for fecal indicator bacteria, maintain and operate public notification systems, identify local pollution sources, and report results of monitoring and notification activities to EPA. Grant funding under the BEACH ACT is part of a broader EPA effort to find and eliminate sources of water pollution that contribute to beach closures.
New Jersey’s beach monitoring notification data can be found at https://www.njbeaches.org/.